Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Hazy, Anything-But-Lazy Days of Christmas

Christmas. The word is enough to send a shudder down my spine. Yes, I know, that's very Scrooge of me, but I can't help it. Not being religious, and having no kids, I'd just as soon hide and wait it out. But Christmas is like a great flood--you can lock yourself in your house, but it's going to seep in after you.
So, for those secret Scrooges like myself, here are my top five reasons for disliking Christmas:

5. Christmas Cards. It got to the point where I was spending about $40 and eight hours of work on Christmas cards. Not to mention it's not very environmentally responsible. So, I gave it up. But even though I tell everyone I've given it up, and that they don't have to send me a Christmas card, they do anyway. And each time I get one of those festive little envelopes, I get a tiny prick of guilt for not sending them one.

4. Winter. I think I might be able to tolerate Christmas a lot better if it were in, say, July. But being cold and wet in addition to broke and annoyed is just too much for my system to handle. Not to mention all those December mornings driving into work during a blizzard, wondering what my foot will taste like when I'm forced to gnaw it off to stay alive while trapped for days in a snowbank.

3. Wrapping Gifts. My "kids" are two dogs and two cats. And they, just like human children, like to "help" me do things. So, as soon as the delicious, crackly paper comes out, my cats must, walk, roll and lay on it, leaving tiny clawholes in every square inch. Then, just as I've finished, my dog will put a giant paw square in the middle of the gift, tearing a much larger hole in the paper. By the time I'm done, I might as well have wrapped it in cellophane, for all that the paper actually conceals the gift.

2. Shopping. I do it online to avoid the crowds, but the pressure to pick the "perfect" gift is fierce, and competing with oneself year after year can get expensive. It's always now that I remember reading "Little House On The Prairie," and how Laura and Mary were delighted to receive oranges for Christmas. Oranges. Really. Wonder what my nieces would say if I sent them oranges, rather than a piano mat they can dance on to play.

1. "Christmas Spirit." Love to see some of that. Instead, I get cut off in heavy shopping traffic, checkout girls who've had the cheer wrung out of them by high-maintenance shoppers, and people who yell at me for wishing them "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Now, I just stick with, "Have a nice day."

So, if you too cringe every October, when the first department store Christmas displays go up, take heart. You're not alone. We're out there, and we WILL overcome.

Jacquelyn Sylvan, aka "Scroogette," is the author of Surviving Serendipity, a Young Adult fantasy novel that would make a great, er, "holiday" gift. Click below to buy on Amazon!

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